News and Analysis

World Bank Uganda Office: why not partner and engage with the private sector in furthering good governance?

What are the motives of World Bank local country offices? Why is World Bank adamant when it comes to partnering and engaging with the private sector especially in issues of furthering the enterprise governance discussion?

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Uganda Chapter is organizing the 2nd annual anti-fraud and good governance conference with a theme: Winning Partnerships against the Fraud Risk in the Public Sector.

Aware that nothing eats shareholder value like fraud, on 8th September 2016, we sent a partnership and attendance invitation letter. It is unfortunate that World Bank Uganda office turned down the invitation!

How does World Bank promise “Working for a World Free of Poverty” without engagement with stakeholders especially those in the accountability and governance? World over, the private sector and professional associations are more robust and efficient when it comes to impact and execution compared to public sector. It goes without saying that to make real impact, partnership with both the private and public sectors are critical.

Here is the feedback from World Bank office on our request to partner:

Reference is made to your letter seeking sponsorship for the 2nd Annual ACFE Uganda Chapter Anti-Fraud and Good Governance Conference scheduled for October 27 – 28, 2016.

Unfortunately, we do not have instruments to support such a request.

Disappointed, I replied as follows:

Thanks for your feedback. This is to recommend to you to develop the instruments to support these kinds of requests. How does World Bank add on-going value to the corporate governance discussion in this country? How do you engage with private sector players? An average organization, I am sure including World Bank Uganda office, loses over 5% of annual budget to fraud. Why can’t World Bank partner with local professionals to share experiences and engage in the corporate Agenda discussion?

Change is a fact of life. The bank should engage with local professionals NOT just public so that her impact is more effective across the board.

The private sector is a good business partner. World Bank should develop instruments that are responsive to individual country needs, other than implementing uniform instruments globally. What may work in say Russia, may have no place in Uganda. What is true, World Bank, like any organization aiming to cause change and reduce world poverty need to work with champions that are prepared to enable effective accountability. Once that is done, services can be delivered.

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